Scrumptious Seafood: Plah Gong (Spot Prawn Salad with Chili Jam)

photographed by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

Spot prawns are in season for another 4 weeks. Take advantage of this tasty local and sustainable resource while you still can! Here is a recipe adapted from the Vancouver Sun.

Plah Gong (Spot Prawn with Chili Jam)

Chili jam dressing:

  • 10 small green Thai chilies
  • 2 small red Thai bird’s eye chilies
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 mL) coarsely chopped coriander roots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chili paste
  • ÂĽ cup (60 mL) sugar
  • ½ cup (125 mL) lime juice
  • ½ cup (125 mL) fish sauce
  • zest of one kaffir lime
  • juice of two kaffir limes

Make the dressing in a mortar and pestle by chopping all ingredients into smallish pieces (2-3 mm). Ground the aromatics (chilies, coriander root, garlic) first and once a paste-like consistency has been achieved, add sugar to dissolve the fibres further. Stir in the fish sauce, chili paste, and lime juice. Add the kaffir lime zest and juice to taste. The dressing should taste equally sweet, sour and hot, so add more sugar, chili paste or lime juice as necessary.

Salad:

  • ½ cup (125 mL) chopped young lotus stems (optional)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fried shallots
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely sliced lemon grass
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely julienned kaffir lime leaves
  • handful of mint leaves
  • handful of cilantro leaves
  • handful of pak chi farang (sawtooth coriander)

Spot Prawns:

2 to 3 lbs. (1 to ½ kg) live spot prawns

Kill the prawns by submerging them in cold water for a few minutes. Grill the prawns over charcoal grill for about a minute; do not over cook. Once grilled, cut the prawns in half down the belly, keeping the head on, toss with all the herbs/aromatics, and season with dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, place the spot prawns and herbs into a large mixing bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

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